Ahead Software has, it seems, been watching the market very closely. For the sixth generation of its burning software, the company has partly trodden the path followed by Roxio with its Easy CD & DVD Creator suite, although for Nero 6.0, things have been done a lot more carefully.
Let’s explain. The last version of Easy CD & DVD Creator moved what started out as a simple CD burning tool into a full suite of programs covering audio, cover design, copying and DVD making applications. The result? A collection of related programs that didn’t actually feel like they belonged with one another.
Nero 6 has also broadened its remit, with tools for cover creation, editing, backing up, DVD playback and such like. But here the mix hangs together a lot better, with the programs sharing a similar look and feel, each genuinely adding to the package in its own right.
You can see why Ahead has done it. Chances are, most people reading this have enjoyed a copy of Nero in some guise in the past, as it’s rightly been proclaimed as the best commercial CD burning application. It’s renowned for doing its job, and doing it well. Thus, to compel you all to rush out and upgrade, there are some significant improvements and additions to consider.
There’s the StartSmart, for instance, a simple tool that brings together the key functions of Nero in one very user-friendly screen. Put simply, you choose what you want to do – be it burn a CD, test the speed of your drive, capture video or whatever – and it’ll load the bit of the suite you need to do it. Nero Vision Express 2 continues this work, all in the name of making the program friendly and approachable. Which it is.
Moving on to another new addition, BackItUp, as the name suggests, allows you to effectively back up and restore your data. It asks you which partitions of your hard drive you want to store, and then goes about its work. While it’s clearly not as strong as a specialist backup tool, nonetheless it’s a utility that does what the majority of users will need it to do, without grumbling about it either.
More? Support for VST and DirectX plug-ins is now provided in the improved Wave Editor application, and Ahead has incorporated something called SoundTrax into the mix too; a good application to help master audio discs. Plus MPEG-4 is now fully supported.
However, even taking the strength of these additions into account, centre stage must still go to the guts of the package – the burning application. Nero 6 is fantastically simple, working on the same drag and drop philosophy, and yet very capable indeed. It supports a broad range of formats and has benefited from a neatly cleaned up interface that makes the key options even easier to get at. For instance, for those with more than one burner in their PC, switching between them can be done from the main burning screen.
Burning a disc, be it a data DVD, SVCD or MP3 album, is a matter of pulling in the necessary data and clicking a button or two. As simple and straightforward as that. Sure, additional enhancements are available if you need them, but it matters not a jot whether you follow the quick or the more elaborate route. This is a program that’s easy to use and does its job.
Chances are that the majority of users will never even touch half of the things that Nero 6 can do. But then they don’t have to. At its heart, this is a quality, improved tool for making CDs and DVDs, with lots of worthwhile added extras on the side.
Company: Ahead Software